Gary Baca, a La Cañada Flintridge native, was recently named executive chef of Eldr+Rime, a new Milwaukee restaurant that offers Nordic-inspired fare and opens this month.
Baca graduated from St. Francis High School in LCF and later attended Santa Barbara City College and UC Berkeley.
With more than 20 years of culinary experience, Baca has worked as executive chef and partner at Lettuce Entertain You and Michael Jordan’s Steak House. Eldr+Rime, which translates to “fire and ice,” will present a seasonally focused menu and inspiration from northern European taste. The menu will include staples like steaks, fresh fish, hearty grains and chilled and composed seafood from the raw bar.
Concord Hospitality Enterprises and HKS Holdings, in collaboration with the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, has announced the restaurant will have a spacious and socially distanced full dining room, full-service bar, bar with seating in front of the open kitchen, two private dining rooms and an outdoor patio, which together will encompass 6,800 square feet.
“We are so excited to bring this concept to the Milwaukee area,” said Baca, whose father was La Cañada High School’s first boys’ varsity basketball head coach (1963-66). “My goal is that our guests feel like they are eating outdoors, enjoying the season both with the ambience and with our food, year-round. We want this to be a gathering place in the community where the experience is authentic, and the food is approachable and comforting.”
Cooking techniques at Eldr+Rime will highlight grilling over live fire and wood-oven roasting. The restaurant aims to leverage the seasonal ingredients to full capacity with fresh preparations, along with preserving, pickling and smoking. Menu items will include delectable starters, salads and entrees such as Swedish meatball sliders, venison tartare, Nordic rye flatbread, Alaskan red king crab and pork schnitzel.
“Chefs are innovative yet can be critical with their thought process,” Baca said. “I believe my job as a chef is to practice restraint and stay out of my own way in order to allow amazing ingredients to shine. I want to present the elegant simplicity of Nordic cuisine to our guests, supported by our indigenous roots with a twist and Midwestern comfort.”
For information on Eldr+Rime, visit eldrandrime.com.